The improvement in the Coalition’s Newspoll on 29 January (still down at 47/53 TPP) has almost been forgotten and questions continue as to whether Morrison is able to address the “two big things” (quit Paris accord and slash immigration) needed to give the Coalition a chance. The need for quitting the Paris accord has been enhanced by what has happened under heat waves in Victoria, South Australia and now NSW.
Today’s article by The Australian’s political editor Dennis Shanahan argues that Morrison still has a last chance and points out that “in late 1992 and early 1993, the Keating government hopelessly trailed John Hewson’s opposition. In February 1993, the Coalition led Labor 53.5 to 46.5 on a two-party-preferred basis in Newspoll.On election day, March 13, Labor pipped the Coalition 51.4 per cent to 48.6 per cent and Keating remained prime minister. The key to this dramatic turnaround was that voters became wary of Hewson and his radical tax plans”
There is one thing that emerges from the ABC shenigans, viz it establishes a strong case that there is now no need to have a public broadcaster covering the field, even if there was when it was established. The private sector now has many broadcasters and has ready access to “news” about what is happening overseas and to the views of visiting “experts” from overseas. This extends to the rural sector as well as the urban, although the former does not have as wide an access. There is a marvellous opportunity for the government to review the role of public broadcasting
The US Secretary of State , Tillerson, has made a major speech in which he effectively says the US will increase its political and military roles in the Middle East.The attached report by the Washington Post (not generally supportive of Trump) says: “Tillerson listed vanquishing al-Qaeda, ousting Iran and securing a peace settlement that excludes President Bashar al-Assad as among the goals of a continued presence in Syria of about 2,000 American troops currently deployed in a Kurdish-controlled corner of northeastern Syria. His comments represented the most comprehensive and ambitious articulation of Washington’s often-contradictory policy in Syria since President Trump took office a year ago, and they underline the extent to which the war against the Islamic State has inevitably also entangled the United States in the region’s other conflicts.
My Commentary last Thursday repeated earlier suggestions that the only way to reverse the Coalition’s 47/53 TPP polling is to replace Turnbull. This has become more possible now that Abbott has continued to advocate the adoption of policies more in line with the stated objectives of the Liberal Party. It is reported in today’s Herald Sun that he will also be talking tomorrow in the Deakin electorate currently held by Michael Sukkar, who is presently an Assistant Treasurer in the Turnbull government (see attached Abbott to Make Another Talk). Significantly, this is a marginal seat and, as it will go to Labor if existing polling is not reversed, Sukkar has doubtless realised the need to present a different Liberal party to his electorate. Separately, the Herald Sun has run an interview with Turnbull in which he said that he would quit politics if he loses being PM.
The end of the Parliamentary session (it resumes in 6 weeks) has produced various comments about its performance, including Turnbull’s claim that it showed that the Coalition is governing. He referred in particular the $6bn bank tax, gas export restrictions, the avoidance of Aboriginal Title restrictions on the $21bn Adani coal mine in Queensland, and the much publicised new arrangements for schools. The Weekend Australian observes critically that “the Prime Minister has won this victory only by adopting what even he argues is a purer version of Labor’s Gonski plan and by promising tens of billions of dollars that are yet to be raised and which, on the available evidence, will not necessarily boost education outcomes”.
Today’s Herald Sun reports that, on a Galaxy poll of 815 people, the Victorian Coalition headed by Matthew Guy has suddenly jumped ahead of Labor with a “primary” vote of 41/33 compared with 36.5/38 in November 2014. On this basis, they would be 53/47 on a TPP basis compared with 49/51 in February. Daniel Andrews is still the preferred Premier but more say they are dissatisfied (47) than are satisfied (38).
Trump’s Executive Orders and Twitter announcements continue day by day and it is pertinent to consider their effectiveness and possible implications so far: Job Approval ratings in US polling show a slightly higher net rate of disapproval of Trump, on average - 48.3 to 46, with more disapprovals than approvals (see attached on Polling on Trump Job Approval). But the protests shown on our TV, and the imbalance in the news, clearly exaggerate the opposition to Trump. It is probably little different to the election, albeit more aggressive. Even “our ABC” felt it had to mention support for Trump in last night’s TV news. Despite Trump’s critical remarks about NATO, the meeting of European leaders in Malta on Feb 3 seems to have produced mixed views about Trump (see EU on Trump). The British PM (the only one to have met Trump as President) told them that the US under Trump would still cooperate on defence. The French PM, whose approval polling in France was in single figures the last time I looked, attacked Trump’s support of Brexit (but in front of May). It appears that the meeting was mainly concerned with helping Libya stop emigrants to Europe across the Meditarranean and improving controls on entry of refugees. However, the current President of the EU (actually of the Council), Tusk, thought the US is a threat to the EU!